An almost empty zip lock bag of homemade pesto is staring at me in the freezer. I’ve used a lot of pesto this year for my favorite pizza – chicken and pesto pizza with cherry tomatoes. I’m loving this pizza so I thought why not incorporate these ingredients with pasta? I came up with a winner that I will definitely be making again. It is quick, easy and absolutely delicious. Enjoy!
Pasta Princess’s Penne with Chicken and Pesto Sauce
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 red bell pepper
- 8 oz. mushrooms, sliced
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes halved
- ¼ cup home-made pesto*
- ¼ cup heavy cream
- ¼ cup reserved pasta water
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- 2 Grilled boneless chicken breasts
While chicken is grilling cook penne according to directions. Reserve ¼ cup of pasta water (the starch from the pasta thickens the sauce).
Dice red bell peppers, slice mushrooms and cut grilled chicken into bite size pieces.
Spray a large sauté pan with olive oil and sauté red bell peppers, and tomatoes on medium heat until peppers are tender crisp – approximately 8 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and chicken. Continue to cook another 5 minutes.
Add pesto, heavy cream, reserved pasta water and parmesan cheese. Cook until heated through.
Serve and enjoy!
Recipe courtesy Emeril Lagasse, 2004
- 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, salt, and pepper and process for a few seconds until the basil is chopped. Add the cheese, pine nuts, and garlic and, while the processor is running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until a mostly smooth sauce is formed. Transfer pesto to a bowl and set aside. (Note: Pesto may be made 1 day in advance and kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container, until ready to use. If making in advance, be sure to cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from darkening. Pesto may also be frozen in the same manner in small quantities for use at a later date.) Note: I freeze pesto in an ice-cube tray and then pop them into a zip lock bag. I had almost a full bag of frozen pesto cubes from my basil this past summer. It thaws quickly for use!